Community rallies round for Holbeck Christmas meal

Holbeck Elderly Aid (HEA) put on a Christmas dinner for 86 members last Tuesday (11 December 2018) ably assisted by staff from Barclays and children from Beeston Hill St Luke’s Primary School.

Christmas jumpers were on display and the winter shone through the windows of St Matthew’s Community Centre. Before dinner was served, forty children from St Luke’s sang a range of modern carols, accompanying themselves on the ukulele for one number. The audience were rapt listening to their lovely harmonies and joined them for the final song: White Christmas.

Family Support Worker Jemma Lane explained to South Leeds Life that this was the first year that they had sung for Holbeck Elderly Aid. The choir is made up from children in Years 3-6 who practice once a week after school with singing teacher Sophie Thiruchelvam.

This performance promises to be the first of many collaborations, as HEA and the school plan joint activities such as a playing board games, learning to play the ukulele and singing with the choir.

“I think once these projects are up and running it will benefit both the young children of our school and the clients that access HEA, both parties I’m sure will be teaching and learning from each other” said Jemma.

“I thought the event last week at HEA was really lovely, it’s great for our children to have an audience to perform for, they work so hard to learn the songs and it’s wonderful to see a group of smiling people enjoying their singing. I am hopeful we will be asked to return and perform next year, hopefully with a few new members from HEA.”

By contrast, it was the 12th year that staff from Barclays mortgage department at Millshaw have supported HEA’s Christmas meal.

Helen Hembrow from Barclays commented:

“We look forward to the event every year and we’ve made some lovely friends there now.

“We held a number of fundraising events throughout the month of September including cake bakes, chocolate and wine hampers and a raffle with prizes donated from colleagues. Barclays matched the total of the amount we raised pound for pound. This money was then sent to Holbeck Elderly Aid who used the funds to buy food for the lunch.

“We always arrive early on the day to help set up and we love to meet and greet the guests as they arrive and help to serve the lunch.”

Elissa Newman, Chief Officer at HEA thanked everyone who had helped with the event:

“We are so grateful to the choir from St Luke’s and the team of volunteers from Barclays. This is a typical example of how people go about their daily business, but they don’t forget that that they live and work in communities. Thank you.”